Magazine article Guitar Player

Ani Difranco Knuckles Down

Magazine article Guitar Player

Ani Difranco Knuckles Down

Article excerpt

Ani DiFranco's muse is in a constant state of flux. The restlessly prolific singer/songwriter has released at least one album of adventurous folk-based music every year since hitting the scene in 1990. And while she's known for crafting songs that challenge societal and political precepts, she chose to largely focus on more personal matters for her latest CD, Knuckle Down [Righteous Babe]. Familial reflections, splintered relationships, and moving on to higher ground form the record's basis. But regardless of where a song's subject matter may go, DiFranco's songwriting process typically begins in the same place.

"My songs are born with a guitar and my journal at my side," she explains. "My various guitars have different voices, and they function as my singing and writing partners. The unique qualities of a guitar's voice have a real effect on what comes out. I don't rely on a specific sound or formula. The process is either emotional and immediate, where I sit down and write something from start to finish, or it's an ongoing meditation that gets sculpted and re-sculpted. On Knuckle Down, for example, 'Parameters' was a real vomiting of words, whereas 'Lag Time' was something I worked on for months. That song represented the 'Oh, I finally got the bridge' kind of writing."

The Knuckle Down sessions also required that DiFranco write songs to a deadline in order to accommodate her and co-producer Joe Henry's schedules--which somewhat complicated another aspect of her writing regime: performing her songs live in advance of recording them. …

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